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tv   KQED Newsroom  PBS  August 27, 2016 2:00am-2:31am PDT

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hello and welcome to kqed newsroom. coming up on our program, kqed investigation of the rise in inmate suicides at california county jails and a look ahead to an exciting and colorful fall season in the bay area arts world but first the city of san jose could declare a public safety emergency as early as next week over a shortage of police officers. the move is necessary to ensure that patrols are staffed. many experienced cut backs since the he recession of 2008. joining me with more on the situation in san jose are are kqed south bay reporter. paul kelly president of the san
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jose police officers association and san jose's vice mayor. thank you for being on the program. so how severe is the officer shortage? >> we do have an officer shortage in san jose and it's getting more severe overtime but we have to take a look at how this has all happened. it's been a perfect storm. it's been a crisis that's been brewing. we had the great recession and we lost officers due to disabilities and due to retirement and due to disputes over intention and that's contributed to this. and now the police chief is asking us to make decisions to allow him to make the flexibility to staff patrol. i've been making sure. >> how many do you have on street patrol now? how many do you need to meet minimum patrol standards for public safety? >> there's a staffing that we're allowed and we're not really seeing all the officers that we
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have allowed staffing for so we're somewhere around 813, 812 officers on the street which for a city of over a million people we would like to have a lot more officers on the street. >> we want to give the police chief the ability to use his decision making to move the officers where he needs to and what he is asking us to do and i'm in full support of that along with our police union i'm happy to say. >> so if it is declared about 47 offices will be reassigned to street patrols. why can't you have the officers reassigned for that. >> i agree for the vice mayor. we have also been short of the san jose police department and when we look at the next shift which is september through march in a six month span we would have to fill over 340 ten hour
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shifts a week. it's impossible. when the numbers came out after the bid and the chief got handed the documentation to show we're in trouble and realize that you cannot staff patrol and you can't be able to respond to 911 calls, we have got an emergency. if that's not an emergency i don't know what is. >> but again. why can't you just reassign them? is that too complicated to say? instead of doing an investigation in this homicide unit go patrol the streets instead. >> it's a great question. >> because of being able to reassign it people in special operations, you have a sit down and it would take weeks and weeks to get through this process. he has to draw the line in the sand. >> and it's necessary that had a
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declaration. >> a lot of people believe there was an agenda here. there was the pension form which will be on the ballot. they find the timing of it questionable at this point in time. >> as you say, the measure is essentially the settlement that was negotiated between the city and the police union for pension reform and it does away with measure b but enacted much stricter controls. >> two points here really can't be argued. there's a police shortage. that's been going on for a long time but it's been exacerbated lately and a hot of officers don't want to work all the overtime anymore which is also part of the problem. the politics of pension reform will play into this and are playing into that. that cannot be disputed because it's part of the fabric now in san jose. >> is there political
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maneuvering going on then behind this need or debate over a state of emergency declaration? >> the use of the term emergency is required it's a legal thing that we have to go to to go around the necessity to negotiate as paul just talked about under the provisions and collective bargaining so we're able to go around that and immediately take action. we need to take action short-term and mid range long-term. our pension measure that's going to be on the ballot and i like to think of that for the future. and i think it's going to help us complete some of the things that we started. measure b had a lot of issues and problems and there's been a lot of tension and struggle around that and i think that the things that we're going to see absolutely need to happen. they're going to make sure that there's certainty for a police department. that we change and we allow officers that have been out
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there to return to san jose so that we can recruit. it's going to help us recruit and retain. without it, it will be a really serious one. if measure f is intertwined with the whole thing. >> there is currently a lawsuit against measure f because some residents feel that the ballot and explanation of it is not completely fair and biased. >> well, exactly this morning i was in court over that and it has been resolved. so that was resolved a couple of hours ago. >> hot off the presses. that was the resolution. >> they worked on 75 words that were at stake here and so the members of silicon valley taxpayer's association believed that it was biased and some words were changed but what happened was the judge basically handed the lawyer the changes yesterday and hash out any
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differences you have and in the last 24 hours they did. >> i do want to ask about the broader issue of the correlation between street patrols and neighborhood safety. is there a direct connection between the two. >> absolutely. 100%. >> this emergency and i'm going to call it that. you have a question about politics and when we sat down at the table and the chief sat down and called me and said i have some bad news for you, we have to move these officers now. there was never discussion about politics, measure f, money. it was safety. it was safety in the community and safety in the officers and the officers on the street. and it's a problem. >> how big of a problem given that crime is down. a new study out just this week by the public policy institute
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of california finds that overall despite an up tick in crime violent crime rates now are comparable to the 1960s. >> those are up in san jose and the police chief said that is an indicator of a problem with safety. if you look at homicides there's been three in the last week and he said there's no correlation to that because many of them once you dissect the homicides are domestic issues. >> so you're out on the streets all the time talking to people. what has been the public's reaction to this officer shortage? >> it's been the great equalizer. whether you live in a neighborhood that's fwang invested or in a $2 million home everybody has the same complaints. if there's a burglary in my neighborhood nobody is there dusting prints.
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if there's smash and grab with the cars parked on the street we're not getting what we want from the police officers. >> we have taken steps to try to help by getting folks to come out and do the prints and help police officers but first i'm grateful for the police officers that have stayed to be with san jose. we have a dedicated force. even though we have a small force because the council and the police department and union are working together i feel confident that we're moving toward solution we need to rebuild this police department. this is to get more on the street right now. i was in the military.
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when you need to make the decision to move people around, we need to make sure that we have people on patrol. would i rather have someone on the desk or patrol, they want someone on patrol. >> talking about immediate need and solution perhaps. >> it's going to be a very serious issue. that's going to lock in the ability to recruit folks that have left to come back and changes that are driving people to leave our department and it changes health care. retireee health care which people are overlooking and we didn't have in the previous
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measure. take home pay for police officers. >> i want to thank you all. the president of the police officer's association. >> turning now from policing to problems in county jals, california's jails have become the defacto treatment provider for people struggling with mental illness and addiction. at least a third suffer from some kind of mental disorder. one indication of the problem. they have been looking into where the problem is more acute. thank you both for being here. lisa and julie, you both spent six months investigating this story. where is the problem? well what we found is deaths of inmates have been increasing
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since 2010. he wanted to go down there and see what's going on. >> it was a santa clara county case involving a mentally ill inmate there. >> yes, he died last year in august. 31 years old. found beaten to death in his cell. he suffered from bipolar and addiction and the judge in the case had actually to send him but there was no room to send him to treatment so he was put in the jail and three jail guards are accused of being beaten him to death. that caused you to look into this issue further and lisa what did you discover about why there's such an influx of mentally ill inmates in jails? >> there's been a series of
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factors. transferring from state prisons to local county jails. at the same time nationally an increase in jails of people with severe mental illness and state hospitals are crowded right now and that's exactly what happened to michael tyree before he died. >> you talked to a number of families that had loved ones guy while in a county jail and you talked in particular with a woman named michelle. her story was powerful. >> she was married to her husband for 18 years. no symptoms of mental illness until the last five weeks of his life. he had a psychotic break and was diagnosed with bipolar and
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psychosis. he threw a rock through his brother's window and he was arrested and taken to jail his wife was very concerned because he said he was us sidel so she called the jail to try to warn the deputies there that her husband was suicidal and we have audio of that. >> for six days i was calling continuously. i was talking to the nurse and i was telling them i was scared for his life the whole time and they told me not to worry. he was in good hands. the morning of june 1st, i looked online and he wasn't in the system and i called them and i said why isn't my husband in the system nil? did you transfer him to a hospital? and they said we're going to have to call you back. they ended up calling me back when i was driving my son to school and told me what
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happened. >> what happened was that he killed himself. he had a shirt stuffed in his mouth and a t-shirt tied around his neck and he died from not being able to breathe and michelle had called 28 times over six days to try to get jail staff to put her husband in a safety cell where he would have no materials to kill himself and she is planning to sue the county of san diego. >> what a way to find out that your husband died in jail. >> so is the suicide problem worse in local jails than state prison? >> it is. about 8% are suicides but in the jail statewide it's about a quarter of all deaths are suicides. >> why is it worse? >> there's a few reasons but one is a sudden influx of inmates with mental illness that are not really set up for that. they don't have the staff they
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will sit down with a nurse. might approximate a sheriff deputy is going to go through a list of questions looking for signs of mental illness. that person if they don't detect it that could lead to delays and getting medication or seeing a psychiatrist. even if they see the person has a mental illness they don't have to see a psychiatrist. >> have there been changes since these stories came to light? >> well, about $2.2 billion have been distributed to county jails and a lot of counts have using this to build new facilities and a lot of those facilities include these special cells jew sli talking about four people with severe mental illness. >> but if there are deficiencies along the way where if the nurse
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interviews someone and doesn't assign them to a suicide cell or they're not being monitored because they're on a suicide hold those changes are happening and if not how are families reacting to that lack of change? >> it's a real problem and what we saw in san diego with that they created a new suicide policy because they realized they had this happening but what we found when we looked at our investigation part of this policy is they're supposed to look at the signs. so a family member or if they tried to commit suicide before these are all high risk factors but there's been 8 suicides since this policy was put in place in san diego. we discovered 6 of the 8 people had the high risk factors before they killed themselves. in some cases people told the jail guards what they were going to do before they did it. >> you talked to a woman named
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lydia nunez whose son was a h e homeless. >> he was in a state hospital because of it and he was diagnosed with a severe disorder that caused him to uncontrol bli drink water. he couldn't stop himself. he would drink and drink and drink and when he was transferred to san diego jail we don't fully know but what happened is he was placed in a jail cell with a running toilet and a running sink. >> free access to water. >> a nurse leader found him. a coroner after he died said he wouldn't have needed to drink 6 liters of water in a very short time period or more to die that way. >> and we have a clip from lydia so let's hear from her. >> i don't want it to happen to someone else.
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it needs to stop right here and now because people are dying in the county jail and nobody is doing anything about it. >> so clearly she is hoping to send a message with her lawsuit here to get some change. what will happen if these issues aren't addressed in a different way. >> jails are the worst place for people with illness and and those people will get worse and come out and cycle back into the jail sooner or faster and continue to worsen. >> okay. i know that you both will consider watching the story. nice job reporting and investigating this. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> bay area cultural life is set
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to go into overdrive with a wide array of unique performances and exhibition after an already busy summer the recent season promises to be colorful and full of interesting twists. the senior arts editor is back with more on the fall art season. hi, chloe. >> let's start in napa valley. a famous british actor is presenting a world career. >> yes. he is right up there in terms of fame and both and going two venues in the napa valley and performing a show and it's a combination. >> it's a match up. >> incredible musicians
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involved. >> this is a story about love. >> it's a world premiere. >> it's going to the kennedy center in washington d.c. >> we have this art project coming up that tells a bizarre and fascinating story about a architect. we have video of the making of this exhibit. what are we looking at. it looks like a bunch of ashes being exhumed. >> that's right. this is a piece going to be shown in the exhibition. it's by a brooklyn artist and this is the great mexican architect that died in 1988. >> his actual ashes. >> now get this so he decided to work with him.
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and turned into a diamond ring. >> she turns it into a two carat diamond ring and the idea is that the ring is going to be used to barter with the private owners of the archives. built amazing buildings in mexico city. world famous and have those put back into the public domain so she is hoping that the owners by offering them this ring will oblige and return his archives from the sector. >> the current owner of those archives is a swiss person, right? >> a couple and actually the story has been covered in debt in the new yorker. it's attracted quite the international attention. this is happening in the art institution open september 9th and people will get immersed in this incredible story. >> i find that so fascinating. strange but alluring in a
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strange way. >> what do you think is a point that they're trying to make with the art project. >> it's an examination of what is private, what is public. who gets the right to own something like someone's body of work? hoping to exchange it for a body of work. >> that's incredible. it's such an interesting story. let's move on to the east bay because they're mounting a world premiere and now this is a treasured middle eastern love story. >> that's right. it's a romeo and juliet type story of star crossed lovers so a narrative that we're all very familiar with and these lovers go crazy with a passion for each other and things don't end very well for them and performances is staging a world premiere. 10 years in the making. opens on friday september 30th and runs through sunday october 2nd and it features absolutely a
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list artists so we have mark morris, very famous choreographer and his dance company and we also have the silk road ensemble. world class ensemble of musicians and howard hodgkin who is responsible for the costume but the thing that excites me the most about this show is the singing. so let's check out this incredible singers that are involved. ♪ >> i love that. >> it is just right into it and i think it's the perfect way to tell this emotional story, you know? >> and it's a trifecta. dance, music, visual arts.
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>> i'm really excited about it. >> now when it comes to making new imaginative instruments out of all kinds of things, paul is really the king of creativity and people get a chance to see his stuff. >> yes, there's a piece that's being mounlted on the weekend of friday september 23rd. now this is an opportunity for people to see these incredible instruments that he makes out of his studio and his workshop in the bay area. i've been there myself. you wouldn't believe these things and he's world class and going to be up on stage playing with these things and telling stories. check this out. it's great.
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>> if you love the dance, the weekend is upon us. if you love to dance, boy does san jose have a party for you and it's free. >> that's right. the city is organizing a weekly dance party. happy hour thursday night. starts on thursday set 1st and runs through october. and like you said. food trucks out there. or practice your bad moves that you already know. >> anything goes. >> that would be my guess. >> me too. >> well, the city has never done this before. it's the first time and they'll bring you back if it's successful. >> absolutely. >> all right. as always thank you. >> thanks for having me. >> well, they start rolling out next week for that and a complete look at all of our arts
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coverage go to kqed.org/art. thanks so much for joining us.
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